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Gallup poll shows Roma isolation from Bulgarian society has intensified over the last 20 years

2.8.2015 20:58
At the end of May 2015 anti-Romani protests  and violence broke out in the village of Garmen in southwestern Bulgaria, followed by more such protests and violence in the capital during June.
At the end of May 2015 anti-Romani protests and violence broke out in the village of Garmen in southwestern Bulgaria, followed by more such protests and violence in the capital during June.

Radio Bulgaria reports that as the Decade of Roma Inclusion comes to a close, Roma are still permanently excluded from Bulgarian society, according to a newly-published Gallup International poll. Researcher Dimitar Ganev said the poll was conducted in response to inter-ethnic tensions in May and June of this year.

Asked whether the political party they support would still earn their vote if it were to run a "competent, honest" Romani candidate, 70 % said they would not vote for such a person. Ganev said similar responses were given to the questions of how people might respond to working for a Romani army officer, employer, police chief or Vice President, Radio Bulgaria reports.  

The poll found that residents of large cities with Roma ghettos in Bulgaria are much more negative towards Roma than small-town residents are. It also found that Bulgarian university gradates are no more tolerant than high school graduates are.

Ganev said 85 % of respondents also said they would probably not to marry a Romani man or woman. Only 4 % of ethnic Bulgarians said they would marry a Romani person and only 6 % of ethnic Turks said they would marry a Romani person.

The poll found that party affiliation did not significantly influence anti-Romani attitudes either. When asked whether they accept the claim that "the obligation of the Bulgarian majority is to ensure equal treatment", however, 64 % of respondents said they agreed.

More than half of respondents also agreed with the claim that politicians deliberately cause problems between non-Roma and Roma, Radio Bulgaria reports. "Similar questions were asked in 1994 and we compared the results. What we see is that for 21 years there has been a very serious regression in relations between Bulgarians and Roma. In this sense, the trend is very unpleasant. If it is not stopped or restricted, this can create a very serious tension in our society. This situation could have catastrophic consequences, which I say with full responsibility," Dimitar Ganev concluded.

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Bulgaria, Decade of Roma Inclusion, intolerance, opinions



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